Bob’s Banter: Portrait of a President




In India, pictures of the current president line the walls of every government office. I wonder how the president approves which picture of him looks the best: “This is a terrible picture of me!”

“Sir we have already sent it to decorate the walls of the embassies and high commissions all over the world!”

“Recall all of them! I won’t have any picture of mine hung without my approval!”

So I decided to take the new President for a little walk:

“Where to?”

“Washington, Mr President!”

“Okay let’s go, what is this? A memorial?”

“Yes sir!”

“Who’s that man sitting inside? It’s the ugliest statue of anyone I have ever seen!”

“I agree with you Mr President. And if you look closely, you will notice the left side of his face has smaller cheekbones than his right.”

“Bah! It makes him look even uglier!”

“Take a look at his wrinkled skin!”


“His enormous ears and huge bulging eyes!”


“His nose Mr President, big and crooked!”


“Look closely sir at those pockmarks on his face, and can you see an odd lump on his lower lip!”

“This man is the most terrible looking fellow I have ever seen!”

“And sir look, there’s an ugly mole on the left side of his cheek and ma’am have you ever, ever seen such a long neck with that awful protruding Adam’s apple?”

“This is awful. Take me away from here!”

“Ah Mr President, would you just look around you?”


“Look at the people!”

“They are crying! Some are weeping! Sobbing! Why? Who is this man?”

“Abraham Lincoln madam President, once President of the United States of America, the man who fought for and saw slavery abolished in his country!”

And as I whisper these words, I hear a great hush around me, and tears roll down the eyes of the rest of us at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

“Sir, if you can be a President like he was, people will not see the imperfections of your artist or the plainness of your features, they will look beyond cheekbones, chin, grey hair and short stature and see such startling beauty, they will gasp at the radiance that leaps out like it does with Lincoln!”

“Bah! Take me back to India, and get an artist who will make me look a little taller..!


Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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